"One Perfect Part at a Time"


Autodesk Fusion 360



First look. I poked around looking at the trending in 3D CAD/CAM tools. Autodesk (AutoCAD) has always been at the top of my unobtainable list because of cost. I have a now quite old LT version which is strictly 2D. I also have a standard AutoCAD I think is version 4 or 6. Neither are installed on my machines. I need 3D.

In my web search I discovered a new tool from Autodesk called Fusion 360. I was actually reading about Apple’s new super powered iPad Pro. I thought if I owned an iPad Pro, it would have to do 3D CAD. I discovered a new 3D CAD program for the iPad Pro called Shapr3D.

Shapr3D looks very Avant-garde performing on the iPad Pro. Here is a quote from their home page: “All you need is your iPad Pro, an Apple Pencil and Shapr3D.” The program is listed as “free” but the first two requirements are a bit beyond my budget. That didn’t stop me from exploring the application features,

In the reviews I read on this product, there was a mention of the Fusion 360 application. I followed the hyper-link and discovered it is an Autodesk product. Now I am paying attention.

Fusion 360 is more advanced than Shapr3D. It is also one of the new wave “cloud subscription” products. For professional users, it is a subscription service with a monthly/yearly user fee. It provides a huge amount of professional services, sharing, cloud storage, etc. I expect something from Autodesk to reek with such high end features,

What is truly startling, is a full featured, fully operational, free installation is available for start-ups groups and developers and individual hobbyists (me), no strings attached. I will have to confirm my non professional use on a yearly basis.… Continue reading

Adding and Subtracting

Taig CNC Mill

Taig CNC Mill with 3D Parts.

I purchased a new 3D printer I have been using intensively for a few weeks. It is a low end hobbyist machine of what is called a RepRap design. You can read much more about it in Ramblin’ Dan’s Workshop. Here is a link to the section on 3D Printing.

What’s so cool is that now I am capable of both additive and subtractive creating. I have put the two together in an article, Taig Mill Swarf Blower, in the THMS main web site. The resulting combination is shown in the picture on the right.

I have a little struggle with where I should publish my efforts with the 3D printer. Does it really belong in with the regular “old school” machine shop?  It’s certainly not old school but I think it would fit in well here. I have chosen to publish what I do with 3D printing over in Ramblin’ Dan’s Workshop as I include all my nonspecific to machining activities there.

The 3D printer I own and wish to afford cannot compete with the precision I can obtain with conventional machining. It’s the second reason I don’t publish it here. My output surface quality with the printer is a little bit in conflict with the “perfect” in my slogan, “One Perfect Part at a Time.” But that doesn’t make it a bad tool.

3D printing, as I can produce it with my machine, will have a lot of application in the machine shop. The first practical application I developed is linked in the second paragraph above. I can make plastic parts I would not try to do otherwise. The entire process is based on slicing a 3D object into 0.1 mm, 0.2 mm, or 0.3 mm layers. Then building… Continue reading

Micro Machining

I am using my Taig CNC micro mill making 3D carvings in wax for my jewelry work. The very sharp pointy thing is my go-to end mill bit for doing the fine and highly detailed work. The squares are 5 x5 MM.  It is a TEB10-005 Tapered Ball End Mill 1/8 x 1-1/2 10° .005. Not cheap at $37.00 each. It does excellent carving with the Taig and the results show the Taig is up for running bits this small. There is actually a ball on the end.Follow the link to BitsBits.com where I get these tiny mill bits.

The other item is of course a common #2 pencil point just for comparison. I have a digital microscope I operate on my Linux box and it is great for inspecting the ends of these tools and taking pictures. I also find the scope useful for examining SMT components on today’s very small circuit boards.

Machine tools this small are rather fragile but wax is a wonderful medium for machining. Bits & Bits has a huge selection of these micro mill buts if you are in need of doing very tiny and precise milling.

Taig CNC Lathe Ideas

criticalthinking2edThanks to the contribution by George Moorehead of Gig Harbor, Washington, I see an excellent platform for creating a Taig CNC lathe. My vision is to use mostly Taig components. It is a similar basic idea that other creators have embraced (like Tormach Duality Lathe)* when creating a CNC lathe machine. I am not thinking of the entire lathe, just the head as George has done.

*Tormach seems to be phasing this Duality lathe-on-bed (LOB) product out with preference to their new Slant Bed lathe. At least it is no longer prominent in their product offers. But for the Taig, the lathe head design on the mill table seems like a very practical way to achieve CNC lathe operation.

I have often studied the Taig micro lathe trying to imagineer how to make it a CNC lathe. Many folks have accomplished the task. But George and even Tormach with their new slant bed design have raised a good thinking outside of the box point that a CNC lathe doesn’t have to look like a converted conventional lathe. The head-on-bed (HOB) is a superior approach for Taig components. Of course this has been done by many others, so no originality is claimed or credited to anyone. The Taig factory could be doing it.

My point is any home machinist can do this and thanks to George for getting the juices flowing and blowing away my image of a converted Taig micro lathe.

I have all the major spare parts needed. Even an old style Taig CNC mill head (Non ER) and an A/C mill motor. I just need to design a few mounting plates. I can see that this would also make a great 4th axis with the proper stepper motor.

I am only discussing ideas here. As a dealer,… Continue reading

A Familiar Ring

Trial Bell #2

Trial Bell

This has been a very interesting and rewarding weekend for me. I have been involved in some creative effort refreshing long unused skills in 3D CAD drawing (Rhinoceros 5) and 4 axis RhinoCAM generation and then the operation of my 4 axis Taig CNC mill.

All this so I can get to work on my bell making project. What it has done is really perked me up for using the skills I have let set idle for a bit longer than I ever intended. After this long weekend I feel that I am back on track.

My plan is to design small bells in three dimensional computer assisted drafting (CAD). That is one set of skills, learning all the components of a very powerful drawing program. Rhino is one of the top rated software packages for 3D drawing and certainly worthy of high praise.

Once the drawing is made, the designer must then have the knowledge to visualize how it will be milled, in my case from a cylinder of wax. It is definitely NOT a push the button and out pops the tool path for the CNC mill, far from it. The cool part is the cutting can be simulated with graphics before ever taking it to the machine tool.

Once I have simulations that run good, I take the code out to the shop and actually run it on the CNC milling machine. It isn’t loaded for actual cutting but what I call a “dry run” just watching all the moves the machine makes. That is to make sure it will run well on the real machine and where I can see how much room I have on my small machines to make all the moves.

This is where I discovered my first design was too… Continue reading

NOTE: Log in is for admin and members only, not required to post comments.